In an expression of authoritarianism, and raising many questions about their timing, Foreign Affairs Minister Demetris Avramopoulos has removed the title of Ambassador ad honorem from Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, who served in the Greek diplomatic corps for thirty eight years.

Only seven months ago this same person praised Chrysanthopoulos on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation, but then chose to punish the retired ambassador, whose family has been working in the diplomatic corps for more than one hundred years. The reason can be found in an interview that he gave to our newspaper on 3 February, where he let the Greek public know, among other things, the disastrous results of the memoranda. Chrysanthopoulos had given a similar interview to a Canadian newspaper.

Chrysanthopoulos, speaking to Honi about the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ inexplicable decision, said that his statement on Blackwater may have triggered the decision to have his title removed. The Minister of Public Order, Mr. Nikos Dendias, had mentioned in an earlier interview that the protection of parliament would be contracted has to a private security firm, without mentioning Blackwater by name.

Not only does Chrysanthopoulos not recognise the legality of the presidential decree, which he refused to receive, but also recalled that there is only one such precedent for the title of Ambassador ad h ofonorem being removed, that George Seferis, for statements he made on 28 March 1969 to the BBC. As Chrsanthopoulos recalls, in a letter Pipinelis addressed to Seferis, he stated that the reason his title was removed was that his statement was retransmitted by the Soviet media, an act that was considered as being against the national interest.

Replying to our question as to whether he regrets having made these statements, Chrysanthopoulos says with emphasis that, while this decree was signed in order to silence him, it has achieved precisely the opposite effect. It would however have been quite another issue had he been in active service. He does not exclude the possibility that the decision could have also been taken by the Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras.

According to what Chrysanthopoulos told our newspaper, this decision could set a precedent for the army, where there are procedures for removing honorary titles from retired officers, but which have never been used. Chrysanthopoulos stresses that in the diplomatic corps there is a procedure explaining how the title is awarded, but no mention of how to remove it.


On the top left of this article, there is a picture of Avramopoulos’ message of 25 June 2012, praising Chrysanthopoulos. Even after he was punished by the minister, the latter’s praise remained on the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s website. What more can be said?

In the middle there is a column with a picture of Avramopoulos and Chrysanthopoulos. The following is mentioned in a column between the two pictures: ’’The minister of Foreign Affairs, D. Avramopoulos, has  shown his authoritarian face by removing the title of Ambassador ad honorem from L. Chrysanthopoulos because he had the courage to tell the truth.”

On the upper right there is a picture of the the page of the newspaper dated February 3,2013 with the interview of Chrysanthopoulos. The following is mentioned under the picture:” The structure of society has collapsed…. It is the fault of the politicians, Greek and Europeans…. The only thing that interests the Europeans is to promote their interests…..   This is what Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos was saying to Honi in February. Two month slater he was punished.

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